My brother Michael Halloran died August 14, 1999. He had been battling cancer for several months. He always called me Ted. Asked to speak at the memorial Mass, I said this:

Mike, you've been in heaven only a few days now. And already you're entertaining God's angels and saints with your jokes and stories.

Mike, I phoned you three years ago, to congratulate you on your retirement. You said, "Hey, I'll still be consulting, teaching and doing other hustles." Then you set me up for a one-liner that I'll always treasure. You told me, "Ted, there are lots of ways to earn money, but only one honest way." I asked, "What's that, Mike?" You answered, "Yep, I figured you wouldn't know."

Mike, I'm your older brother Ted. We're all here to honor you and to remember your delightful sense of humor. Your enthusiasm even gained you a place on the football team. You were in the starting line-up at right guard during your senior year in high school. I learned early in my teenage years that when an argument between brothers gets physical, it's wise to respect the football player.

Mike, you once said that working in education is the greatest calling on earth, after parenthood and martyrdom. Then you asked, "Or is that the same thing?" You told me why there are over 200,000 miles on your blue-green VW bug convertible with license plate DADYBUG. You said, "That's from driving to and from Danville, where I love to work, and Concord, where I can afford to live."

Mike, I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon two months ago, when you and I sat beneath the pines on Mt. Diablo. For hours we talked mostly about our families. I said your 39-year marriage to Terry has been a light for all of us. You answered, "Terry is brave and true and kind." That afternoon, we remembered the fun and scary years when our children were teenagers. We recalled their problems and joys of more recent years. We marveled at their talents and hard work that have given them rewarding careers in art, music, law and computer technology.

The next day we spent a few hours in Danville. Mike, I had never been there before. We drove by the high school where you began teaching 34 years ago and later became dean of boys. In the district office, where you worked for a long series of superintendents, and at Venture School, which you founded, I met dozens of your admiring friends. You enjoyed introducing me with a question: "Can you guess who this is?" Yes, it's obvious we're brothers.

Mike, among the eight of us, you're the most cheerful and the first to enter eternal life. Be with us today in spirit, strengthening our faith. Be our guide as we continue our journey through this life. We'll be joining you soon.